Edvald Boasson Hagen is short of patience—which may explain why he won his second stage at the Tour de France yesterday.
It has nearly always been this way for the Norwegian cyclist. Ever since he started racing mountain bikes with his older brother at the age of eight, it seems that Boasson Hagen has been impatiently rushing toward greatness.
After joining Team Maxbo, the country’s elite amateur team that also produced a certain Thor Hushovd, Boasson Hagen signed with the professional HTC team. There he instantly exploded on the professional scene—winning the prestigious Gent-Wevelgem classic in 2009 as well as stage in the Tour of Italy.
And after he signed with the Sky Team for the 2010 season, the question was simply where and when would he win? After all Boasson Hagen can climb, he can sprint, and he can time trial.
But suddenly there was silence, as Boasson Hagen struggled with injury after injury. More than a year passed.
Now, at this year’s Tour de France, the 24-year-old has finally confirmed the immense expectations placed on him. First came his victory in a mass sprint on Stage 6 to Lisieux. Yesterday, he nearly won after a long breakaway, only to finish a close second to Thor Hushovd. And then yesterday, Boasson Hagen stunned observers when he jumped into the breakaway on this the mountainous stage to Pinerolo, Italy.
Just one day after he was outsprinted by his countryman, Boasson Hagen then attacked on the final climb to solo to victory.
“Those who know me know that I like to get revenge quickly,” Boasson Hagen said after his most recent victory. “Yesterday I was disappointed with myself. But it made it stronger for today.”
While Stage 17 climbed up the historic Sestrieres Pass, so crucial to Lance Armstrong’s first Tour de France victory in 1999, Boasson Hagen really won the stage with his impeccable descent on the Cote de Pramartino just before the finish while other riders struggled with the tight and narrow turns.
Holland’s Bauke Mollema, who eventually finished second, lost contact with Boasson Hagen when he missed a turn and skidded into the forest. Thomas Voeckler nearly lost his yellow jersey when he overcooked a turn and rode into a driveway.
Boasson Hagen, however, appeared unfazed. “I rode the climb three times in training and watched videos of it,” Boasson Hagen said, speaking like an experienced champion.
“Because I knew it and was alone it wasn’t that bad. But yes, if you didn’t know the road and were in the pack, it would have been really hard.”
As his boyish smile beamed from the victory podium, it was clear that the young Norwegian was enjoying himself at this year’s Tour. “Last year was hard. I was injured all the time and couldn’t prepare for the Tour like I wanted. This year has been a lot better.”